The Green Restaurant Association is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to creating green, sustainable practices in the restaurant industry. In addition to detailing ways operators can green their restaurants, the Green Restaurant Association also provides a breadth of knowledge on sustainable foodservice practices.
As part of these education efforts, they recently detailed five green restaurant trends we should look for in 2019, and we wanted to recap those here:
STRIVE FOR ZERO FOOD WASTE.
With roughly a third of all food going to waste in the United States, reducing this number has been on just about every major foodservice trend list over the last several years. The question becomes how do we do it?
According to the Green Restaurant Association, the driving factors of this trend are legislation, education and awareness, and customer demand. Adding smaller portion sizes to the menu and reusing scraps from a previous dish are easy ways to reduce food waste. Storage is also a factor, as foods that are properly stored will enjoy longer shelf lives than those that aren't.
REDUCE SINGLE-USE DISPOSABLES.
The first thing that comes to mind after the trends of 2018 is plastic straws. Cutting down on single-use items like straws, water bottles, bags, and other items can help increase a restaurant's sustainability levels. From Starbucks to the National Park Service, these efforts are already underway across the country, with some cities even fining operators for using things like plastic straws.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE LAWS.
Speaking of legislation, cities and states are doing more than just banning plastic straws, though Seattle certainly led the way back in July as the first major city to ban them. Grocery stores in Boulder, Colorado charge 10 cents per plastic bag, for example, the result of a law passed by voters a few years back. In October, Austin, Texas began requiring all restaurants to compost food scraps and not throw them away. If you're an operator, make sure to stay on top of the laws and ballot initiatives.
PLANT-BASED PROTEINS ARE STILL GAINING IN POPULARITY.
A quick look at many of the food supply vendors at shows like the Fancy Food Show or the National Restaurant Association Show will detail a growing, profitable trend - plant-based meats. From plant-based hamburgers to other vegetarian proteins, a range of new items exists to satisfy a growing number of vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians. Green restaurant initiatives and sustainable ingredients are definitely driven by consumer demand.
SUSTAINABILITY COMES FULL CIRCLE.
As detailed by the Green Restaurant Association, sustainability is a 360-degree affair. As more restaurants start adopting green practices, they'll eventually wind up adopting more of them. From purchasing to reducing food waste to implementing energy-saving commercial refrigeration, restaurants will take a holistic approach to evaluating and implementing the green and sustainable strategies that customers want, especially as those choices result in healthier bottom lines, as well.